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PersonalFullname: Martin Hugh Michael O'Neill
aka: Martin O'Neill
Nicknames: MoN, "Martin the Magnificent", "The Blessed Martin"
Born: 1 March 1952
Birthplace: Kilrea, Northern Ireland
Position (as a player): Midfielder (didn't play for Celtic though)
Internationals: Northern Ireland;
International Caps: 64 caps
International Goals: 8 goals
Manager: 1 June 2000 - 28 May 2005
- First Celtic manager since Jock Stein to win a domestic treble
- First Celtic manager to take us to a UEFA Cup final.
- His Celtic side won a record 25 league games in a row in 2003-04.
- From 2001-2004, Celtic remained undefeated at home until Aberdeen won in Apr 2004. A remarkable record under MoN.
- Seven domestic trophies won under Martin O'Neill.
- Trademark: after any major Celtic goal, he had a famous habit of jumping in the air with his fists raised! A little humorous but illustrated his wonderful character and emotion to all.
- Stood up against bigotry when Neil Lennon was barracked all 90 mins in matches v Rangers for his background.
- He was a legal student until he gave that up when first offered to be a footballer.
- Double European Cup winner as a player with Nottingham Forest, playing under legendary Brian Clough.
- He never played for Celtic as a player.
Manager 2000 - 2005Extraordinary salvage job transformed Celtic from isolated runners-up to instant treble winners. Continued success, including a Uefa Cup final, has made him Celtic's most influential figure since Jock Stein. Intense, intelligent and highly-coveted, O'Neill left Celtic in 2005 to look after his sick wife, Geraldine.
When Martin O'Neill arrived at Celtic, there wasn't a huge crowd to greet him, nor was there the usual overblown fanfare you would normally get with any new incumbent at the helm of a club of Celtic's size. There was a fair crowd of people welcoming him, but truth be told no one was expecting much. The prior season or two to his arrival can be best described as amongst the worst the club had ever endured, with the John Barnes/Kenny Dalglish managerial reign falling as low as can be. The Huns were on the rise and were arrogantly believing that this was a season where they were going to push up in Europe and have us by the jugular under their spiky shoes.
How things were to turn out differently! Nobody could ever be said to believe what was to happen over the next few years, and the following only covers the true emotion of Martin's reign in brief for the whole Celtic support.
2000-01So how was MoN to begin to turnaround the whole club? Some thought that it was equivalent to turning the titanic around. Firstly, he began a change in the squad, and after losing Mark Viduka (the highest profile loss) he then brought in players such as Sutton, Thompson and Agathe, and later Lennon (in Dec 2000) to change both the dynamic and atmosphere surrounding the whole squad. Add in the recovery of Henrik Larsson, after his horrendous injury the previous year, and he had the nucleus of a great team, a blessing for any manager.
The first league game began well with a comfortable win against Dundee Utd which saw both Sutton & Larsson score to get off the starting blocks for the season. An encouraging start followed with six wins on the trot (2 in the UEFA cup) and we were to next face our biggest challenge, the first game of the season against Rangers. Martin O'Neill's first game v Rangers was expected to be a real test of his nerve and ability. The Huns were arrogant and bloated from their spending over the prior couple of years. The match was set to play a part in how the season was to go, and overall there was only one team in the game, Celtic running out 6-2 victors (dubbed "Demolition Derby").
The game has become legendary and Henrik Larsson stands out in this game more than anyone else. For Martin, this set things off perfectly for the rest of his time at Celtic. Passing his first test with flying colours put both his squad and the fans right behind him and effectively won us the psychological battle against the Huns. The match was a turning point in Scottish football and heralded a beginning to the end of Ranger's domestic dominance. Important was the contribution of his new signings, especially Sutton, and this surely gave the board greater confidence to back the manager in any of his demands.
During the season, Larsson cemented a perfect partnership with Chris Sutton, and with their single-minded determination to see Celtic achieve the best and put Rangers in their place, each played well off of each other, banging in the goals taking us further ahead of the Huns. We won the league by 15pts, with Henrik scoring a phenomenal 35 goals in 37 games!!!! In comparison, Tore Andre Flo scored just 11 goals to be Rangers highest scorer and he cost the Huns a fortune (around £12m)!
MoN's inspired team completed an exceptional Treble that season (league, Scottish cup & league cup), something that even the most optimistic Celtic fan at the start of the season could not believe would happen.
Martin O'Neill had transformed Celtic in his first season! His hope to bring success to the club had been surpassed already! He became the first Celtic manager since Jock Stein to achieve the treble. Even he surely could not have believed that such an incredible first season was possible. We blew the opposition away, we played some great football and his man management allowed for a settled squad, the first we'd had for a very long time.
An interesting anecdote from Matt McGlone (ex-Celtic View columnist) on Martin O'Neill highlighted his level of involvement at all levels. After a critical article by McGlone on the first team after losing 5-1 to Rangers, Martin O'Neill stormed in to see Matt McGlone and castigate him over the article. According to McGlone, Martin O'Neill was comprehensive in his role at Celtic and had a view and look at everything going on, and ensured that all was well set-up as he required for his players benefit. An important point that highlights just how thorough Martin O'Neill played a part to transform the team and club environment to get the foundations laid for future success.
2001-02How was MoN to advance Celtic from the previous season's stellar campaign? We were way ahead of where we expected to be (helped admittedly by Rangers imploding), so season 2001-02 was to see the next stage by testing European waters. A poor start in his first season saw us go out very early doors in the UEFA Cup, and this time for our foray into the Champions league we had to go begin the journey by overcoming Ajax in the preliminary round. To everyone's shock, we won comfortably over the two legs, a three-two aggregate, with a wonderful 3-1 away in the first game, and Celtic were into the Champions League group stages for the first time.
A tough group awaited us with Juventus in pot one, and for Martin O'Neill it was quite a step up in a short space of time for management at Celtic. A double European Cup winner with Notts Forest, MoN knew what it takes to compete in the tournament but times had changed and we were entering with some trepidation. MoN worked his best but famously the team failed to go through even though we amassed 9 pts (just one behind Porto who came second), then a joint record points tally to not go qualify through, but it was our first time in the Champs Lge and it was a good learning experience for all. In many ways, there was little more MoN could do more but he made the difference for the players to believe in themselves to be able to compete toe-to-toe with the best, and it was agonising to see us fall at the final hurdle. We ended up dropping down into the UEFA cup, where were were knocked out on penalties.
Domestically, MoN was again on track. Things just couldn't go wrong for us in the league, which we won convincingly with 97pts, 15pts above Rangers who were second, and a goal difference of +61. A 3-0 win against Rangers away at Ibrox sealed our dominance for the season, the only blip being losing the Cups. The football was excellent, Larsson & Sutton were banging in the goals and Martin O'Neill was in his ascendancy. It really was a magical time.
His transfers had shored up the squad with John Hartson being the most notable in the season. In many ways, Hartson's transfer reflected MoN's attitude to football the most. A no nonsense back-to-basics forward, he definitely did not epitomise the modern footballer, but he was very effective and did the job in hand (his goal tally showed that clearly). Not a signing that initially got the fans applauding, but MoN's thinking on Hartson paid off and showed his general shrewdness in buying certain players.
2002-03A season never to be forgotten by any Celtic fan (or anyone else who was there to witness any of it!).
Some analysts like to talk about "Creative Destruction", the idea that once a disaster occurs it enables the entity to rebuild better than if it were trying to rebuild from being at the top. This can be applied to this season. Hopes were high, and the players were now fully accustomed to each other and more importantly to the manager. MoN's imprint on the side was unmistakable, moulding the squad into an efficient side, and all was heading in the right direction.
Then the disaster struck. In the qualifying round for the Champions league we lost to FC Basel (Swiss). A poor away performance cost us dearly and we could not make up for it in the return, conceding an unnecessary goal which cost us qualification to the group stages. We came close, and should have got it but didn't. What went wrong? MoN was broken more than anyone, but it was his responsibility to turn it all around. All had gone his way to date but now was a new challenge, and this was to test his ability as a manager to the limit.
Europe was the benchmark, and so had we failed? Actually, turned out to be the best thing that had ever happened to the club, and it began what has been gloriously dubbed "The Road to Seville", our march to the UEFA Cup final in 2003 (Seville, Spain). Martin O'Neill took the whole run in his stride, and as each match raised the bar that we had to jump over, he ensured that we were prepared for the challenges. When we played Blackburn, that was deemed a huge challenge, and even though we won the first leg, a consensus from the press agreed with the Blackburn manager (ex-Hun manager Souness) that it was "Men against Boys" that we were played off the park. How MoN made them eat their words as he out-thought them tactically as we won the return leg in Blackburn as well.
From then on, MoN's teams had to battle and overcome Celta Vigo (violent players and incompetent referees!), the highly rated Stuttgart (Germans) and then the big one, Liverpool, the biggest name to date.
For MoN (who formerly had played in England for a long period) if ever there was a chance to cement our reputation then this was it. Liverpool were very well fancied to easily win both games, and even though they had the better of the first game, MoN won the battles against his Liverpool counterpart and took the game to Liverpool at their own ground, getting tactics and formations correct, winning 2-0 in what can be said to have been in a manner that made it look easier for us than it was. In Neil Lennon's biography, he noted how MoN gave a rousing pre-match talk which set the players up. It looks to have made the difference. Martin O'Neill was now a respected name throughout even England, not only for his work at lower league levels with Leicester but acknowledgement that he had the nous to manage at the highest level with the biggest sides.
The penultimate challenge in the semi-finals was against Boavista; a touch set of matches which saw Celtic come from behind (in aggregate terms) to win and make it to the final (overcoming much of the opposition's antics). It was a nervy affair, but it was thanks to Larsson's late winner that we got through. Martin O'Neill was there all the way, and with his team had overcome all challenges to get to the final.
The final against Porto, sadly, did not work out as all had hoped. In truth, Porto were the better team on the day, however, Celtic fought to the bitter end with a fabulous performance from Henrik Larsson. We'd a strong side but we had our weaknesses, and Porto out-thought MoN. Our tactics played into their hands, and MoN in this case should have adjusted our tactics to suit the opposition more, where any tackles led to diving and rolling about by Porto. Nevertheless, we never loss any respect for MoN, and he had taken us further than any of us could ever have hoped. Jose Mourinho (the Porto manager) later said in an interview that he was the lucky one that day and always brings up that match whenever he sees MoN.
Domestically, we threw much of it away, knocked out by Inv Caley in the Scottish Cup and losing to Rangers in the League Cup Final, snuffed out the cup competitions. However, in the league it was too much to battle on two fronts, for the league and the UEFA Cup at the same time. It was a hard slog and there was no league extension (as the huns got in 2008), but we fought to the bitter end and lost the league on the last day. MoN surprisingly found it hard to get his way against Alex McLeish in the Old Firm games, but nevertheless it was the UEFA cup run that got both his and our full attention, and in that MoN excelled, and an almost dream season for MoN as much as for ourselves.
A season never to be forgotten, and MoN's place in this experience can never be downplayed.
2003-04Never easy for any manager to follow a successful season. Regardless, we hadn't won a trophy last season and we had to recover in this front no matter how successful we regarded 2002-03. We had to win back the league and prove ourselves again in Europe to show it was no flash in the pan, and that we could do it under Martin's management. Much of the season was overshadowed by the announcement that Larsson was not to renew his contract and had decided to move on. However, as the true professional he was, Larsson continued to work just as hard as ever to help the team reclaim the league.
The league turned out to be less of a challenge than expected. Huns thought they were revitalised but weren't. We won the title comfortably, and Martin O'Neill could celebrate a third SPL title in four seasons (and his last as it turned out). Completing the League & Scottish Cup double piled on the agony for the Huns, but the quality of the play and the number of quality goals, really showed MoN's ability to fashion a consistently winning side. We almost made it through the season undefeated in the league, but lost two games late in the season which spoiled the record. Up until Aberdeen's win at Parkhead, Celtic had gone 77 games undefeated at home!
For Celtic, Europe had become the benchmark to measure ourselves, and taking our confidence from the UEFA cup run of the previous season, out belief was that this time we could make it through the group stages in the Champions League. Qualifying easily into the group stages, we then again fell agonisingly short of qualifying into the knockout stages with 7 pts for our third place against 9pts for the second place. Martin O'Neill deserves credit but also criticism: 0 away wins in six games is a poor return, and it was building in a mental block into the players which we since found hard to shake off in later seasons. Must add about the wonder goal at home v Lyon scored by Liam Miller following a 20 pass move, a sublime piece of teamwork fashioned by Martin O'Neill's men. If ever there were any quandaries about Martin O'Neill's style of play, then they should be shown that goal. It was a tribute to his coaching and the team spirit at the time.
The best was still to come - this time in the UEFA Cup - and Martin O'Neill's greatest triumph as Celtic manager. Celtic had drawn in-form Barcelona, and we were written off from the start. With players of the calibre of Ronaldinho to face, there was little hope that we were going to match them. Yet, Martin O'Neil's men under his management sealed a famous 1-0 victory at home, and then drew in a hard-fought away match in Barcelona. Competing against Barcelona was hard enough, but losing Bobo Balde & Rab Douglas for the away leg was something that made it ever so more difficult. MoN though took the brave decision with playing youngsters John Kennedy & David Marshall, and it paid up trumps. The triumph was greater than the UEFA Cup final, and we'd proven by knocking out Barcelona that we were no flash in the pan. We could compete with the best.
A second quarter-final in the UEFA cup beckoned, but alas we lost over the two legs to Villarreal, so hopes for a second UEFA cup final in a row were put to bed.
The highlight of the season for many though was surprisingly not the Barca win, the league victory or the Scottish cup final double. The best moment was the whitewash of five wins out of five against the Huns. The finale of this came from MoN's best signing, Chris Sutton, who in injury time scored a long range goal to win us the final game of the season against Rangers. The torment for the Rangers fans was unmeasurable, and the joy for us Celtic fans was sky-high. Martin O'Neill simply had the upper hand in all the encounters, and his charges did all the good work for him.
An important incident from this season showed the greatest aspect of Martin O'Neill. This was when at the end of a game v Rangers (link), he took midfielder Neil Lennon over to the Celtic fans and proudly paraded him shoulder-to-shoulder after Lennon was racially & verbally abused for the 90mins by the Rangers fans.
"Neil Lennon, for whatever reasons, suffers dogs abuse at every single away ground and in particular here obviously," Martin O'Neill said. "He is well thought of by the Celtic fans for what he has done for us over the last four-and-a-half years. It was to show that Neil Lennon is very popular with our fans and I didn't want anyone to forget that."
It was more than anyone has ever asked of MoN and showed that he was more than a manager, and took the well-being of his players as a priority above all. He cared, and in return we cared for him too. See Link
2004-05His last season was the most difficult, and in many ways should not be seen in any way as being representative of his reign. Rumours were abound about his personal family circumstances, and at the year it was made publicly know that his wife was suffering from lymphoma. In effect, he was hardly around and it showed. Didn't help that this was our first season without Larsson (as he'd left for Barcelona), but we really should have won the league and disturbingly lost with only a few minutes left of the last game of the season, allowing a poor Rangers side to gloat forever more.
The Champions League run was a big disappointment as we finished bottom of the group for the first time. If results had gone a bit differently in the last round we could have gone 3rd and into the UEFA cup, but there's a point where we should be thinking beyond that. Didn't help that we had to face Larsson's Barcelona in the group stages, and as expected he scored against us at Parkhead (but didn't celebrate his goal). In any case, the best moment was seeing us go away to Barcelona for the second time in two years and again come away unbeaten, this time with a one each draw. Fabulous, but more of a "What if?" situation.
The football was generally poor/awful in this last season and Hartson was way overweight, overpaid and over here. Hartson scored a number of goals but was in a really poor state for a professional footballer. Add in that replacing Larsson was never going to be easy, MoN did not find a good replacement in Camara. Bringing in Brazilian playmaker Juninho also didn't work out either, and led to calls questioning MoN's ability to handle flare players (resurrecting criticisms some unfairly made of him with respect to Lubo).
If it wasn't for his family situation, MoN likely would have noticed the cracks in the side that the rest of us could see. We required one or two new players, Petrov was better in the centre than on the wing, our goalkeeper was not coping with being first choice and our centre of defence was as slow as you could get and so on.
Understandably his priority was his family, and with hindsight the club should have managed things differently to work as best as possible in the circumstances but then again who wanted to lose Martin? The club tried to accommodate him as best as anyone can.
Regardless, MoN's Celtic career ended on a high as we won the Scottish Cup at the end of the season but it could have been a double winning season. He left the club with all the Celtic support hoping him the very best for the future. We were going to miss him. He gave us our pride back, and he made us the club we always knew we could be. His human touch was incredible and no player spoke ill of him.
The glory moments are something none of us will ever forget, and he will forever be one of us.
| Team |
| From |
| To |
|Games|| W || D || L ||Win %|
|Celtic||June 1, 2000||May 31, 2005||282||213||29||40||75.53|
MoN and his Legal backgroundOne big tale that has gone around about Martin O'Neill is that he was such a good manager as he was an avid legal eagle, having done a law degree and that it was in the family and so on. There is some truth in it but it has been way over-blown.
After leaving school, Martin O'Neill began a law degree at Queen's University in Belfast but left after around a year in order to pursue a career as a footballer (so hardly qualifies him as a lawyer in any shape or form, or anything legal really). Nevertheless, he has been known to have a keen fascination for legal stories, and has remained an avid follower of criminology, having attended some of Britain's most infamous trials including that of the Yorkshire Ripper. His fascination apparently began with the James Hanratty case of 1961, and he has been said to take his family on legal trail hunts for his personal interest.
You can take from this what you like on its influence on his managerial ability.
Honours with CelticTreble (SPL, Scottish Cup, League Cup)
Managerial Awards (in Scotland)SPL Manager of the Month (9):
- August 2000,
- December 2000,
- February 2001,
- August 2001,
- April 2002,
- November 2002,
- October 2003,
- November 2003,
- January 2005
Quotes"It's an absolute honour for me to be the manager here, an absolute honour."
Martin O'Neill, July 2000
"I will do everything I possibly can to bring some success to this football club."
Martin O'Neill, July 2000
'The UEFA Cup is not just one notch up from what we're used to, we are talking about four or five notches.'
'When the final whistle blows and you're in front; thats the only moment you really enjoy it.'
MON on Old Firm games
"Football is about those who play and those who pay."
Martin O'Neill (2003)
"I don't earn as much as you think, you know. Funnily enough, I earned more at Leicester."
Martin O'Neill (2003)
"If you tell me we will win the league and not beat Rangers all season, then I would take it."
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"One of my jobs at the start - and you can write this as a headline - was trying to find out why exactly we had spent some of our money on Rafael Sheidt."
Martin O'Neill speaking in 2004
"I'd dearly love to have played lead guitar with Jethro Tull. That would have done me."
Martin O'Neill, 2004
"Neil Lennon, for whatever reasons, suffers dogs abuse at every single away ground and in particular here obviously. He is well thought of by the Celtic fans for what he has done for us over the last four-and-a-half years. It was to show that Neil Lennon is very popular with our fans and I didn't want anyone to forget that."
Martin O'Neil supporting Neil Lennon after the torrent of racial abuse he had to suffer after a game v Rangers (Nov 04)
'What sort of state do I leave Celtic in? Certainly a better state than I found them, and certainly a better state than you're in.'
Martin O'Neill on Clyde commentator Peter Martin
"I know that, two miles south of Carlisle, nobody has ever heard of them."
Martin O'Neill on Scottish journalists (2005)
“I am leaving Celtic purely for personal reasons and I am extremely sorry to be departing in such circumstances.”
“Martin had clear ideas. He would tell me: ‘Lubo, I do not want to see you come back and take the ball from the centre-backs and play the easy pass. I want you near the penalty box to make passes and score goals. This is your job for the team.’" He added: “Martin was clear with me: 'If you do that, I kick you up the bum’."
Lubo on manager Martin O'Neill (2010)
Quotes by others on MoN"The most fascinating, engaging and infuriating manager I have ever dealt with."
Graham Spiers (journalist, 2011)
'Martin did have one thing going for him when he arrived up there in Glasgow - he didn't need to work too hard to get fans to come to the ground. All he had to do was tell them it was a Saturday! What a luxury, massive home crowds virtually guaranteed.'
Brian Clough on MON, 2002
"If he'd been English or Swedish, he'd have walked the England job."
Brian Clough on Martin O'Neill.
"Anybody who can do anything in Leicester but make a jumper has got to be a genius."
Brian Clough on Martin O'Neill.
"Martin O'Neill has reduced the number of nutters at Celtic because he has given them less to be nuts about."
Brian Clough (2002)
"Everyone, but everyone, had predicted our demise, but at that point Martin showed his mettle. In the dressing room before the match he gave us an unforgettable talk. I personally do not think we needed much motivation as we were all sure of ourselves and positive that we would compete and get a result. Yet Martin's words inspired us to even greater heights of determination. He looked around the dressing room and pointed out young Shaun Maloney. 'This is a European quarter-final and this boy is only nineteen, but he might never get this opportunity again.' He looked around the older guys and added: 'You guys in your thirties probably won't get the opportunity again to prove a point, to prove to England and Europe that you deserve respect, and that you are worthy of respect, and that you are worthy of a place in the semi-finals.' He made his points tellingly in his usual manner and did so in two or three minutes, yet by the time he had finished we were ready to go out and run through brick walls if we needed to."
From an extract from Neil Lennon's autobiography, ( Lennon, Neil (2006) Neil Lennon: Man and Bhoy. HarperSport, ISBN-10: 0007233477) which describes gaffer Martin O'Neill's famously inspirational speech at Anfield prior to the game.
"I’ve never met O’Neill, but was once told an illuminating story about him. He was sitting before some assembled press, one of whom raised the point that O’Neill never worked with his players in training during the week. Don’t you think, the journalist continued, that you could go one step further and improve the players’ technical skills if you were to work with them more?
“Do you know what, that has never occurred to me,” O’Neill replied. “It’s such a great idea I am going to start that next week. The only problem is I’ve been so busy winning matches I haven’t had time to do it!” O’Neill was making the point that managers are judged by the matches they win and not necessarily for the team’s style. He is a clever man but even he could not have anticipated the success achieved during his short time in charge. "
Tony Cascarino, 2007
"Martin wasn’t a training ground manager, he was more of a psychologist, but he was very good at getting the best out of his players. At half-time, the things he would say to you, would turn things around in your head. He was always positive with you, never negative, and that was brilliant to hear in the dressing-room."
Jackie McNamara (Jr) (2011)
- 1952: Born Kilrea, Northern Ireland, March 1.
- 1971: Makes international debut as a substitute against USSR. Joins Nottingham Forest from Distillery in October.
- 1978: Member of Nottingham Forest's league and League Cup double-winning side.
- 1979: Wins a second League Cup winner's medal as Forest retain trophy with 3-2 victory over Southampton.
- 1980: Wins European Cup winner's medal as Forest beat German champions Hamburg 1-0 in Madrid.
- 1981: After 285 league appearances for Forest, with 48 goals, joins Norwich in February for the first of two spells as a player at Carrow Road. After 11 league appearances (one goal), transfers to Manchester City.
- 1982: Returns to Norwich in January after playing just 13 league games for City.
- 1983: Returns to Nottingham in August, joining Notts County.
- 1984: Wins last of 64 international caps in 2-1 win over Finland.
- 1987 First steps into management with Grantham Town
- 1989 Becomes manager of Shepshed Charterhouse.
- 1990: Appointed manager of non-league Wycombe Wanderers.
- 1991: Guides Wycombe to FA Trophy glory.
- 1993: Wycombe win GM Vauxhall Conference title to achieve promotion to the Football League and clinch another FA Trophy success.
- 1994: Claims promotion from division three at the first attempt.
- 1994: Rejects approaches by Leicester and Nottingham Forest to become their manager.
- 1995: Becomes manager of Norwich in June.
- 1995: Resigns on December 17 after a series of clashes with chairman Robert Chase over money for team-building. Appointed manager of Leicester on December 21.
- 1996: Leicester beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Wembley in the first division play-off final, winning promotion back to the Premiership at first attempt.
- 1997: Won Coca-Cola Cup final, beating Middlesbrough in a replay at Hillsborough to clinch a place in Europe for the first time in 35 years.
- 1998: Finished tenth in Premiership, but O'Neill frequently voiced concern over lack of funds. Linked with vacant managerial post at Leeds following George Graham's move to Tottenham Hotspur but elects to remain at Filbert Street.
- 1999: Leads Leicester to Worthington Cup final, where they are beaten by Tottenham.
- 1999 March - O'Neill's long-term future remains unresolved after the club denied reports he is set to sign new contract.
- 1999 June - Ends months of speculation and commits himself to Leicester until 2002.
- 1999 September - O'Neill gives his support to club chairman John Elsom in the wake of the Filbert Street power struggle.
- 1999 December - Angrily dismisses reports he is on the verge of quitting Leicester for a bigger club. Rules himself out of Everton job.
- 2000, January: Rules himself out of contention for the role as Northern Ireland manager.
- 2000 February - In quiet he is approached by Dermot Desmond and sounded out about becoming Manager at Celtic. Rejects offer. Leads Leicester to their third Worthington Cup final in four years after a 1-0 aggregate win over Aston Villa in the semi-finals.
- 2000 February 27; Leads Leicester to another Worthington Cup win when they defeat Tranmere 2-1.
- 2000 May - Leicester finish eighth in the Premiership, their highest placing, and qualify for the UEFA Cup.
- 2000 June - Celtic Chairman Dermot Desmond approaches him again and offer is accepted
- 2001 March: Wins first trophy in Scotland with a 3-0 CIS Insurance Cup final victory over Kilmarnock. April: Celtic win Scottish Premier League title. May: Beat Hibernian 3-0 to win Scottish Cup final and complete a domestic treble. August: Celtic book their place in the Champions League group stages by beating Ajax 3-2 on aggregate.
- 2002 April: Celtic secure the Scottish Premier League title. May: Celtic are beaten in the Scottish Cup final by Rangers.
- 2003 January: Signs new 12-month rolling contract. March: Celtic beaten 2-1 by Rangers in CIS Cup final. May: Celtic lose 3-2 in extra-time to Porto in the Uefa Cup final in Seville. Celtic lose SPL title to Rangers on thrilling final day.
- 2004 April: Regains SPL title with six games to spare. May: Earns second double in four years with 3-1 win over Dunfermline in Scottish Cup final. July: Delays arrival in America for pre-season trip to care for his sick wife, Geraldine.
- 2005 22May: Celtic lose 2-1 at Motherwell and O'Neill's hopes of a fourth title in five years disappear as Rangers win 1-0 at Hibernian. 25May: Club announce O'Neill will step down after Scottish Cup final to look after his wife. 28May: Ends career at Celtic with 1-0 win over Dundee United in Scottish Cup final.
- 2006 July: Appointed manager of Aston Villa.
- 2009 May: Villa finish sixth again, a run of nine games without a win costing them Champions League place. August: Fails to take Villa into the group stages of the Europa League as Rapid Vienna progress on away goals.
- 2010 February: Reaches his first final with Villa, in the Carling Cup against Manchester United, but they lose 2-1. 10April: Villa lose 3-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. May: Villa finish sixth for a third successive year. 9August: Villa announce O'Neill has resigned as manager with immediate effect.
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